The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report identifies food insecurity as one of the key risks of climate change, potentially affecting all aspects of food security. Climate-related disasters (e.g., floods and droughts) are among the main drivers of food insecurity and the Kenyan economy has already indicated to be very sensitive to the climate changes.
The impacts felt across Kenya can be considered as climate disappointments. The wet seasons are shorter and erratic while the dry seasons have become longer accompanied by higher temperatures. Such seasons are not a comfort to the Kenyan farmers.
The Ministry of Environment through their review of rainfall during the “long rains” season (March –May 2014) indicate that rainfall was depressed over most parts of the country, and its distribution, both in time and space, was generally poor. In the areas where several meteorological stations are situated, they recorded less than 50 percent of their seasonal Long-Term Means (LTMs) for March to May. The rainfall was neither late nor did not extend over the expected month of June.
The impacts of the depressed rainfall have already began to bite into the economy poor crop performance over the agricultural areas of the country including the maize-basket areas of Trans Nzoia, and Uasin Gishu, and others. There have been poor pastures for livestock in the pastoral areas further threatening food security. The decreased water levels in the Seven-Forks, Turkwel and Sondu Miriu hydroelectric power generation dams have led to increased electricity tariffs twice this year which has catapulted manufacturing and industrial costs in magnanimous heights.
40 million Kenyans depend on agriculture as its main backbone for food and income whose output was 3.8percent in 2012. This is very low and not able to feed the country’s population
Food insecurity is becoming a harsh reality with both wet and dry seasons leading to poor agricultural productivity and food deficits every year.
The Kenya Constitution 2010 has called for devolution of power in the counties and maximizing the natural resources including right weather for agriculture. Despite facing similar challenges, however, there is often a lack of regional perspectives on common issues. There is great burden of putting plans in place in each county to utilize their resources, and it seems like agriculture has been there a long time, it could be forgotten.
The sector is already facing many odds including lack of technological inputs, natural calamities and poor labour input and would look hopeless to salvage. Many counties will instead invest in the other natural resources like minerals, wildlife etc which are more obvious to implement.
Without the goodwill of the county leaderships, agricultural input may nosedive to almost zero which is a huge threat to any other natural resources that maybe in the country. Without food, no other activity would thrive and would bring the Kenyan economy to its knees. Care and Caution is highly sensitive at this moment as the counties invest to utilize their resources, they should first establish the agricultural sector without any further delays!
When our life becomes rich through giving, not consuming, we become an asset to society wherever we go.